American History why?

Or: Learning about pot-smoking, gas-passing presidents can be fun!

Obviously, The Complete History of America (abridged) doesn't care a whit about being politically correct, a dead-horse phrase flogged so relentlessly that it's now just a skeleton with brittle bones whiter than Vermont snow, or even politically incorrect. It's to the point now where knee-jerk humor attacking liberal sensitivity and semantics has almost become the kind of cultural fascism that was political correctness when it began trickling into the mainstream from colleges and universities. Critics such as Camille Paglia, who was cool when she published Sexual Personae, and Howard Stern have become shrill self-promoters who've proven unable to evolve from the reactionary positions on which their entire careers have been based. And so some ripe targets have been ignored on the political right, which also has blind spots the size of solar eclipses.

And The Complete History of America (abridged) seems to recognize that. I would be curious to have seen this show when it debuted back in 1993 at North Carolina State University and see how that version compared with 1998's. Maybe director Joel Ferrell and his actors have widened Reduced Shakespeare's shooting range to include conservative follies from homophobia in the military to blind patriotism that ignores our own totalitarian sins while attacking enemies from the Third Reich to the Soviet Union for the very same thing. Or maybe Long, Martin, and Tichenor have always been one step ahead of the anti-P.C. crowd, broadening the debate to recognize that the American right has walked in lockstep as militantly as the American left. In any case, everyone who gets in this show's way is trampled. And that is a very good thing.

The Complete History of America (abridged) runs through February 14. Call (817) 332-

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